Martin dedicates 40th anniversary concert ‘M4D’ to one person
While he had been getting various offers to transfer to other networks, Martin Nievera still chose to remain with ABS-CBN—despite the lack of franchise—simply because he couldn’t see himself anywhere else.
“I was tempted to go to the other side and to many other sides. I could be wealthier or be more intriguing, because I made such a move. But will I be happy? The answer is always no. It’s not because the other stations’ offers weren’t good—it’s because of love and loyalty that has kept me where I am today,” he said at a press conference for his 40th anniversary concert, “M4D.”
The OPM icon renewed his contract with the Kapamilya network earlier this month in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he performed as part of a special “ASAP Natin ‘To” live show.
“We had a room overlooking the Vegas Strip. Carlo (Katigbak, ABS-CBN president and CEO), as well as Cory (Vidanes, COO for Broadcast) were there to formally invite me back as a Kapamilya. I signed another contract. I was very emotional and so were they. And I asked them, ‘Do we still need a contract, after all we have been through together and what we’re still going through together?’”
For Martin, the contract was just a formality. Truth be told, he could have done without one altogether.
“I was honored and touched that they wanted it to be official. And I felt they were equally touched that I couldn’t give a damn about a piece of paper. They didn’t need to write my name on paper to know that I fought for you, I stayed with you … and all the things we did to try to survive,” said Martin, who has been with ABS-CBN since 1987.
“M4D,” which will be held on Nov. 19 at the Theater at Solaire (call 8687-7236), is a tribute of sorts to people who played instrumental roles in his four decades in showbiz. One of them, of course, is Viva Entertainment’s top executive, Vic del Rosario Jr., who discovered Martin and signed him to Vicor Records in 1982.
He also personally selected Vehnee Saturno’s “Be My Lady” to be part of Martin’s debut album, “Take 1,” in 1983. The ballad was a massive hit and ended up being one of Martin’s signature songs. And the rest, as they say, is history.
“The person who gave me my very first break was Vic del Rosario. This show is very meaningful to me. Without him, I don’t think I would be here celebrating 40 years in the industry. I believe the least I can do is dedicate the whole evening to the person who actually discovered me,” he said.
The show will also feature the composer-arranger Louie Ocampo—not as his musical director, but as a special guest. “It’s time for him to be my special guest. He has been my musical director for the longest time. But now I don’t want to put the pressure of doing the show on him. But in my concert, I will honor him for all the great shows he has given me in my 40 years,” he said.
There were points in his career when he felt the need to be someone he was not. But now he has come to fully embrace who he is as an artist. The show’s repertoire will reflect that—about “98 percent” of the songs, he said, will be his. “I will also perform songs that people really want to hear, rather than my personal favorites, which may not necessarily be the people’s favorites.”
After 40 years, I have learned to embrace who I am. I have tried to sound like someone else or sing someone else’s songs because I thought maybe that’s what the people are looking for. But I think, after 40 years, I have now earned the license to do just me,” he said. “I actually have to relearn some songs I don’t sing anymore.”
While he was given the option to do bigger venues, like the Araneta Coliseum or Mall of Asia Arena, Martin opted for the Theatre at Solaire, because he wanted somewhere intimate. “I don’t want to be screaming all the time as I tell the story for each song, which I don’t usually do,” he said.
One of the biggest lessons he has learned in his 40 years in show biz is the importance of bouncing back from failures. “There was a time after my separation (from ex-wife Pops Fernandez) when the phone wasn’t ringing. It was hard. And time felt slow,” he related. “But I bounced back. I was made, was broken and I was made again.”
“You’re always a work in progress. And you (the fans) will always be people who will put me back together again,” he said.